The Army has released a request for information (RFI) today for interested parties to respond with feedback on a multi-vendor approach for the development of modern digital fires products housed in the Program Executive Office for Command, Control, Communications Tactical (PEO C3T) Product Manager Fire Support Command and Control (FSC2).
This new consortium-like approach will allow multiple vendors to have opportunities to potentially participate in the modernization of the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System (AFATDS) and the Joint Targeting Command and Coordination Suite (JTIC2S). Through the RFI, the Army program office is seeking industry feedback on the model and/or lessons learned that can help advise the final approach.
“We see the future of fires built around teams doing the work instead of one industry partner, which is a change in strategy from the past,” says Lt. Col. Timothy Godwin, product manager for FSC2. “There will not be one sole primary contractor. Multiple industry partners can be part of the solutions to building an agile, iterative software for the modernization of our fires products.”
AFATDS provides fully automated support for planning, coordinating, controlling and executing fires and effects. AFATDS is the primary command and control system for long-range precision fires (LRPF) cross-functional team (CFT) initiatives. JTIC2S software solution will provide critical fires/targeting capability for joint and organic Army fire support management, and a joint fires/targeting common operational picture (COP) for joint and coalition partners, as well as at echelon for target development. In its move to a more agile, iterative software, the program office is initiating a new strategy for material development to create software at a faster pace, which can be enhanced through this innovative contract approach.
“Today, we have a really robust capability to do fires, but it was not built for how we have to share data in the future,” says Col. Matt Paul, project manager for Mission Command, PEO C3T. “We want to work with industry to modernize our fires capability so that we can robustly share data, enable sensor-to-shooter architectures, and be able to iterate the program over time.”
AFATDS began development in 1989 and was first fielded in 1995. It was built as a monolithic piece of software utilizing outdated software development practices compared to how software is developed today. As a monolithic piece of software, it is very difficult and time extensive to update. Today, the common objective for each product—AFATDS and JTIC2S—is to be data-centric, modular open systems architecture with applicated based microservices that are hardware agnostic/cloud native and leverage artificial intelligence and machine learning technology advancements. The major focus of the RFI is to allow for open communications with industry to help shape and provide feedback to the Army’s approach to this fires modernization.
Following the RFI, an industry day for AFATDS and JTIC2S is planned during the Army’s technical exchange meeting to be held in Savannah, Georgia, Dec. 12-13, 2023. The industry day will include descriptions of the two products and initial updates from the RFI.
“This new approach will also allow non-traditional defense contractors to have input and be part of the discussion,” says Godwin. “We think they can contribute and be part of a team to build the best product to support the Army of the future.”
The RFI can be found at https://sam.gov/opp/6ac8eb29a0b741c38acc48083dc776b3/view.